On course for pace
Ian Tomlinson, Course Manager Rungsted Golf Klub, Denmark
How we mow the course will dictate how long it can take to play 18 holes. The worst possible situation is for the greenkeeping team to set out at 06.00 to mow the fairways & rough with the heavy morning dew. This leads to clumps of grass lying all over the course, meaning that golfers have to waste time looking for their balls.
Green speed is vital, too. Taking three or four putts to get the ball in the hole is not fun and adds considerably to the time taken for a round. Daily speeds between 9 and 9.5 are quite acceptable to most golfers, bringing more enjoyment and keeping the pace of play flowing. Flag placements are similarly important.
The grass around trees and low branches should be trimmed to give the golfers a better chance of seeing their ball land.
All hazard markers should be clearly visible from every tee so golfers can see .whether they should play a provisional ball. In seniors’ competitions, markers should be placed at the front of tees, giving a better chance of reaching the fairway.
Bunker placement, especially on fairways, should not always penalise the poor player…Take the advice of a qualified architect to find the right location so that average club gofers are not always penalised.
Chris Haspell, Course Manager Castle Stuart Golf, Scotland:
We recommend a very simple style: Just red posts for hazards and white ones for out-of-bounds. We keep the roughs thin and you can find your ball speedily in most areas.
Greenspeeds are really important. We know that once our greens are over 10.5 we can add 45 minutes to a round - less than ideal! You can play 18 holes here in 3.45 comfortably. However, it’s the norm now to take 4.30 which for me is too long. We are for many a destination so if you add wind, photos, hot dogs and more green speeds, you are up to 5.00 . Locals don’t like it but our travelling golfers accept it as part of their trip, or seem to.
Nothing to do with course management, but I personally don’t think it helps when many of the tour players take 6 hours to get around. That’s not good for anyone!